The Herald Bulletin

Morning Update

Pro Sports

November 2, 2013

Fan injured by hot dog suing Kansas City Royals

(Continued)

KANSAS CITY, Mo. —

The state Supreme Court heard oral arguments in September, but didn't indicate when it might issue its ruling.

Few cases had addressed the level of legal duty, or obligation, a mascot owes to fans, so Coomer's case is being closely watched by teams throughout the country, said Tormohlen.

"If a jury finds that the activity at issue is an inherent and unavoidable risk, the Royals owe no duty to their spectators," Tormohlen said. "No case has extended the no-duty rule to the activities of a mascot."

The Royals, whose spokesman declined to comment on the case while it is pending, have argued that the hot dog toss has been a popular fan attraction at Kauffman Stadium since 2000 and is as much part of the game experience as strikeouts and home runs.

From mascot races and T-shirt cannons to free Wi-Fi and stadium sushi stands, teams have been doing everything they can to convince fans that the live experience is worth the high ticket and concession prices and is better than watching games on television.

"You have this competition with teams engaged in pushing the envelope trying to make the experience at the event better than what you can experience at home," said Jordan Kobritz, a professor in the Sports Management Department at SUNY Cortland. "You also have the fan mentality in which risk today is more tolerable than it's been in our history."

A ruling in Coomer's favor, or one that at least assigns partial blame to the mascot, could force teams to rethink their promotions or take additional measures to keep spectators safe, Kobritz said.

Bob Jarvis, a sports law professor at Nova Southeastern University in Florida, said a 1997 California case set an important precedent when a state appeals court ruled that mascots were not an essential part of a baseball game.

Text Only
Pro Sports
  • SPT - HB0819 - McAfee art George Bremer: McAfee can't wait for another shot at miracle finish Two days later, Pat McAfee still was kicking himself for missing a 64-yard field goal that would have provided an even more improbable finish to Saturday's 27-26 preseason loss against the New York Giants.

    August 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • SPT - HB0818 - Griff Whalen art Rogers, Whalen heating up WR conversation Da'Rick Rogers and Griff Whalen are competing so hard for the fifth WR spot, the Colts might be convinced to keep six.

    August 17, 2014 2 Photos

  • WEB Colts art 8-17 Giants rally past Colts in preseason home opener Pat McAfee truly believes he should have made a game-winning field goal for the Indianapolis Colts on Saturday night. Never mind that the punter's attempt came from 64 yards out — a distance that would have equaled the NFL record set by Matt Prater last year. McAfee was focused only on the 27-26 loss against the New York Giants and how his right foot could have changed it.

    August 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • SPT - HB0816 - Colts art Colts still in evaluation mode against Giants

    Many eyes will be turned toward Jonotthan Harrison tonight when the Indianapolis Colts host the New York Giants in their second preseason game. The undrafted free agent out of the University of Florida figures to be the starting center following Khaled Holmes' sprained ankle in the opener against the New York Jets.

    August 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • SPT - HB0814 - Colts Camp - 130 Colts end eventful camp on light note

    Chuck Pagano threw his team a little curveball Wednesday to close out the 2014 training camp, providing a light-hearted finish to a three-week stretch at Anderson University that often tested the team's mettle.

    August 13, 2014 2 Photos

  • Contract's up, but AU confident Colts will return AU president James Edwards believes the school soon will begin working on a new deal with the Colts.

    August 13, 2014

  • SPT - HB0813 - Colts Camp - Luck Watch - 058.JPG Colts Quick Hits: Aug. 13

    News and notes from Colts training camp at Anderson University

    August 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • SPT - HB0813 - Colts Camp - Kerr - 032 Colts rookie Kerr not satisfied, not yet As an undrafted free agent rookie out of Delaware, Colts nose tackle Zach Kerr came into training camp knowing he had to prove himself worthy of a spot on the Indianapolis roster.

    August 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • SPT - HB0813 - Colts Camp - Wayne - 126 Wayne making most of every moment in comeback

    Reggie Wayne had a surprise visitor during his media session Tuesday at Anderson University. And Indianapolis Colts head coach Chuck Pagano just couldn't resist asking his wide receiver a few questions.

    August 12, 2014 1 Photo

  • SPT-HB0813-ColtsCamp-Bradshaw-068.jpg Bradshaw ready to test neck

    Ahmad Bradshaw isn't certain whether he'll make his preseason debut Saturday against his former team, the New York Giants. But the veteran running back firmly believes he will be ready to roll when the regular season opens Sept. 7 at the defending AFC champion Denver Broncos.

    August 12, 2014 1 Photo